New Research Pinpoints Consumer Wine Needs
Kitchen designers could go a long way toward assisting clients with
wine-storage needs while enhancing their reputation as high-end
design consultants if they understood the requirements for storing
wine, and the benefits of state-of-the-art wine storage
That conclusion was implicit in the findings of a major research
effort conducted recently by Sub-Zero Freezer Co., the Madison,
WI-based manufacturer of premium built-in home refrigeration.
The research whose results were released to the trade press at
January’s International Builders’ Show in Dallas consisted of focus
groups and interviews with kitchen designers, wine enthusiasts,
vintners, restaurant owners, consumers, wine retailers,
distributors and dealers, as well as analyses of wine cellars,
according to the company. It was conducted in conjunction with the
development of Sub-Zero’s new 400 Series of premium wine storage
units, which regulate such key wine storage factors as temperature,
humidity, light and vibration levels.
Concerns among wine consumers over proper wine storage in the
home, and a general lack of information about the benefits of
well-designed wine storage equipment, are currently prevalent among
both upscale homeowners and kitchen space planners, the Sub-Zero
The company also gained the following insights into wine
- Nearly two-thirds of typical wine consumers are
college-educated, married and do not have young children.
- Heavier wine drinkers tend to be male, aged 35+, with higher
- Heavier wine consumers entertain at home an average of 2.5
times per month, while lighter wine consumers entertain at home an
average of 1.5 times per month.
- In general, wine consumers store at least one case of wine,
with the storage ratio of red wine to white wine being 2:1.
- Most wine consumers currently store their wine in a wine rack
or in the refrigerator.
With respect to specific key storage issues, Sub-Zero suggested
that kitchen designers be cognizant of the following factors:
- Temperature: A majority of consumers believe wine should be
stored and consumed at the proper temperature in order to ensure
both preservation and enjoyment. However, there is some confusion
over optimum temperatures. Experts recommend, in general, that wine
be kept at temperatures ranging from 40 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit
for consumption, with exact temperatures varying depending on the
type of wine and individual drinking preference (see table below).
Served warm, white wine can taste dull and insipid; served cold,
red wine can lose its scent and flavor, wine experts note. They
also emphasize that, above all else, constant wine temperature is
critical to wine preservation, since shifts in temperature can age
wine faster and make the cork expand and contract, letting air into
the bottle, Sub-Zero noted.
- Humidity: Experts agree that wine must not be exposed to air,
since air can cause oxidation, which can ultimately cause wine to
go bad. Keeping the cork moist ensures the tightest seal possible.
While storing wine on its side is one way to keep the cork moist,
experts also recommend that wine be stored in an environment with
60% to 70% humidity, according to Sub-Zero.
- Light: Experts agree that direct light, particularly
ultraviolet rays, can destroy a wine’s color and flavor. To prevent
harmful rays from stripping wine of its value, wine storage units
should feature either glass doors that are resistant to ultraviolet
light or solid doors that integrate with surrounding cabinetry,
- Vibration: Since wine is delicate, its components can break
down over time if they are exposed to heavy vibrations. This can
leave a wine lacking in scent and flavor. Because of this, the
compressor and cooling system of a wine storage unit should operate
quietly and smoothly, Sub-Zero suggested.
According to Hugh Johnson, widely considered to be
the preeminent authority on wine, the following wines should be
served at the temperatures noted:
The Right Temperature For the Right
Dry White Wines
Sweet White Wines